Monday, March 05, 2007

Is 99 the new 69?

The social scientist (and Friend of the Blog) Cary Federman recently alerted me to an observation once made by Ford Madox Ford: "Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you."

That's a bold claim.

Is the Page 99 Test any more reliable than the Page 69 test? I hope to find out -- and I've started a new blog to collect the data.

Actually, the focus of the two blogs will be a little different. The Page 69 Test has evolved to where it usually covers new or recent books. For the Page 99 Test, I hope to cast the net a little wider. I would like to include contemporary classics as well as time-honored books, with recognized experts applying the test to the text. And whatever else catches my interest,
including new books.

The first book up is Stuart Dybek's
I Sailed With Magellan, an acclaimed novel-in-stories.

If all goes as planned, shortly forthcoming entries will include contributions by Peter Spiegelman (Red Cat), Pulitzer Prize-winning David Garrow, and a Ford Madox Ford scholar who will try the test out on The Good Soldier.

Please visit the Page 99 Test.

--Marshal Zeringue